The Islamic Foundation mourns the loss of over 70 souls in Pakistan. A suicide bomber claimed by a splinter group of Pakistan’s Taliban targeted a crowded park in Lahore on Easter Sunday, injuring over 300 besides the massive loss of innocent life. This cowardly act may have been symbolically targeted against Christians, yet the majority of those who died were Muslim.
The Islamic Foundation condemns the targeting of religious minorities whose protection is obligated by the Qur’an itself. God commands: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:256); and describes the Prophet Muhammad as being sent “only as a mercy to all the worlds.” (21:108)
Such cowardly and abhorrent acts as these, perpetrated by extremists who disfigure the teachings of the faith of a fifth of humanity, have nothing to do with Islam. The Prophet taught the enormity of the sin involved in harming religious minorities (Bukhari); and Muslim lands have always been the home of large religious minorities who have historically been given legal protection.
The Islamic Foundation believes that Muslims around the world must double their efforts in educational projects that ensure the sound understanding of their faith that is based on moderation, co-existence and humanity. This requires that Muslim communities around the world recognise the importance of Islamic education, and rejuvenate a rich historical legacy of Islamic religious reflection and tolerance—a legacy that has come under attack from extremists in recent decades.
And while we endure such pain and loss, we counsel each other to patience and forbearance, as God enjoins in the Qur’an: “By the declining day, surely mankind is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do good works; and enjoin each other to truth, and enjoin each other to patience.” (103:3)